It’s worth remembering that some indie animation distributors are taking the same path. A high-profile example: GKIDS has announced that it will give Marona’s Fantastic Tale a video-on-demand release.
Here are the details:
- Anca Damian’s latest feature will be released online in North America on June 12. Viewers will have to purchase “tickets” from MaronaMovie.com. The price hasn’t been announced, nor has it been specified whether the film will be available for purchase, rental, or both.
- Unlike, say, Trolls: World Tour, the film apparently won’t be released in those theaters that are open. However, a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to partner theaters and related organizations, including the Laemmle Theaters in L.A. and The Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.
- Marona’s Fantastic Tale tells the life story of the titular labrador, framing it through the various owners she comes to know and love. The film played in competition at last year’s Annecy Festival, where GKIDS acquired it, and won the special jury prize at last year’s Animation Is Film festival (run by GKIDS).
- Damian co-wrote Marona’s Fantastic Tale with her son, Anghel. (An exclusive interview with Damian will be included with the virtual ticket.) The director worked closely with Belgian artist Brecht Evens to create the film’s freeform, colorful design.
- Chance Huskey, GKIDS’s director of distribution, said: “While GKIDS and our exhibition partners’ original intention was for audiences to enjoy Marona’s Fantastic Tale as an in-theater experience, we are elated to bring this beautiful, touching film to home viewers through virtual cinema. During this time when many of us are socially isolated, we are hopeful that this film will serve as a reminder to cherish even the smallest moments with our friends and companions.”
- Damian, who is from Romania, started out as a live-action cinematographer and director. Her first animated feature, Crulic: The Path to Beyond, won Annecy’s Cristal Prize for best feature in 2012. Her second, 2015’s The Magic Mountain, picked up awards at festivals including Zagreb and Ottawa.